Guanzon: ‘Travesty’ to recognize new substitute Duterte Youth nominees
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) must “resist any attempt at manipulation” by individuals who would use the commission for their own interest.
Comelec Commission Rowena Guanzon had this to say as she tagged as a “travesty and derogation” the Comelec’s move to accept the Duterte Youth’s withdrawal of its first set of nominees and to recognize the new substitute nominees.
“As the constitutional organ entrusted with the sacred duty to protect the electoral processes, the Commission must, with all its might, resist any attempt at manipulation by those who are consumed by their own ignoble self-interest,” Guanzon said in her dissenting opinion.
“We must put an absolute end to this unrelenting travesty and derogation, not only of the Commission’s authority but also of the democratic institutions and processes for which the Commission stands,” she added.
It could be noted that Guanzon was the lone dissenter in the poll body’s ruling released Monday to accept the new substitute nominees of Duterte Youth.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia abstained from the ruling while Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo was away on official business.
Guanzon argued that the substitutions and withdrawals done by Duterte Youth were not filed on time.
According to Guanzon, Comelec’s decision to accept the new substitution bid of Cardema’s wife Ducielle Marie Cardema, Guillermo Villareal, Krizza Reyes, and Robert Garcia. “defeats the policy on transparency and the people’s constitutional right to information.”
“The list is reduced to being an unreliable and potentially useless source of information that is easily manipulated by the party. It serves no real and meaningful purpose for the voters and for the furtherance of their right to information,” Guanzon said.
“Whether the public is informed of the list pre- or post-elections becomes inconsequential, because just the same, the list is subsequently alterable post-elections depending on the whims and caprices of the party leadership,” she added.
Guanzon added that the second filing by Duterte Youth of its substitute nominees can be considered “a clear act of his (Ronald Cardema’s) re-nomination.”
It could be noted that when Duterte Youth party-list filed its second set of substitute nominees, it still placed Ronald Cardema as its first nominee even if the Comelec already canceled his nomination bid.
“This is an unmistakable display of defiance and a brazen attempt to circumvent the resolution issued by the Commission canceling Ronald Cardema’s [Certificates of nomination and acceptance] and declaring him ineligible to serve as nominee of Duterte Youth,” she said.
“More significantly, Duterte Youth’s incessant streak of withdrawal, substitution, and then another withdrawal and substitution of its nominees speaks of its cold disregard of the law—and of its intent to ‘game’ and manipulate the party-list rules,” Guanzon added.
Apart from Guanzon, election lawyer Emilio Marañon also said the Comelec “rewrote” its rules in order to accommodate the substitution plea of Duterte Youth.
Marañon, counsel for the youth groups who earlier successfully sought the disqualification of Cardema, said their camp will bring the matter to the Supreme Court. /muf
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